Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,
You Have Three to Five Days Before You Die
After thinking and shelter, water is the most important element of survival.
Don't believe me, try not drinking or eating any liquids for only one day. For me, my tongue starts to swell up, my head hurts, and I get lethargic.
For most people, death follows in 3 to 5 days without water.
Deliberate Water Storage in the Home
As I said in "Expedient Water Storage", a person needs at least one gallon of water a day to survive. This one gallon of water is used for drinking water, only.
So a family of four planning for a three day emergency would need 12 gallons of water. A two-week emergency would require at least 56 gallons of water, just for drinking, and a month's supply of water would be 120 gallons.
Around here, we pay about $1.25 for a litre of bottled water (3.8 liters in one gallon) To make it easy on me, say 4 litres to make a gallon, 12 gallons would cost $60. 56 gallons would cost $280, ouch.
So for the folks getting ready for a short-term emergency (3 to 5 days), bottled water would work, for a price.
But, I'm on a budget; I bet you are too. Plus, I want to store enough water for a 30-day emergency.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
One way of cutting costs is to reuse containers. One container is the plastic soda bottle. They come in various sizes, 20 ounce, 1 litre, and 2 litre are common. I have even seen a 3 litre soda bottle when I was traveling to ...
To reuse, just rinse the inside and outside of the bottle with tap water then fill to the top. Screw the original cap on, after rinsing with tap water, then store the bottle in a cool dark place, like a basement.
You don't need to put any chlorine, as a preservative, in the water because most cities already have chlorine in the water. Folks on private wells may want to add 16 drops of 5 1/2 % chlorine bleach to each gallon of water. So a 1-litre bottle would need 4 drops for bleach added to the water.
Now, don't put more bleach in the water thinking "more the better" because too much chlorine can kill.
What I just wrote will work all the time, but this article is "Deliberate Water Storage," so let's get deliberate.
To really clean the 20 ounce, one and/or two litre bottles, first peel the labels off the bottles. You want to remove as much as the glue, too. Next, rinse the inside and outside of the bottle, don't forget the cap, with tap water. Let air dry.
As the bottles are air drying, mix one tablespoon of bleach in one gallon of water, this will make a disinfecting bleach solution for the bottles.
Once the solutions is made put the bottles in the bleach water. You want to make sure that there are no air bubbles inside the bottle. Let the bottles sit for thirty minutes. After the thirty minutes, empty the bottles, you can reuse the disinfecting solution, then let the bottles air dry, again.
The bottles are filled with tap water then treated with chlorine bleach. Remember 16 drops for every gallon or 4 drops of bleach for ever quart/litre of water.
Store the filled bottles in a cool dark place such as a cardboard box or basement.
North Carolina: Division of Child Development - Cleaning and Sanitizing: What’s the difference and how are they done?
Middlesex-London Health Unit - Mixing of Chlorine (Bleach) Solution for Disinfecting